CLAIMING GOD'S BOUNDLESS GRACE

Bible Reading: James 4:1-17

INTRODUCTION

[a] At times when someone owes a bill, and is unable to pay, a period of 'grace' is given over and above the time allotted, and they will have that extra period without any penalties.

[b] In verse 6 of our Bible reading, it says, "He giveth more grace."

The Amplified Bible tells us, that the original Greek is actually saying "more and more grace."

[c] In other words, God's grace is inexhaustible! No matter how much we claim, there is always an abundance left - more than we could ever need to meet any situation.

[d] When we've come to the end of our tether - HE GIVETH MORE GRACE!

When the night seems too black to continue - HE GIVETH MORE GRACE!

When sorrow has sapped our last drop of physical strength - HE GIVETH MORE GRACE!

When doubt has tossed us like a cork on the ocean - HE GIVETH MORE GRACE!

When even the memory of our sin nauseates us - HE GIVETH MORE GRACE!

When friends let us down so badly that it feels something inside us has died - HE GIVETH MORE GRACE!

CONDITIONS

[a] But this grace can only be claimed if certain conditions are met!

[b] How many times have we met people who profess to be backsliders and say, "I just couldn't keep it!"

[c] Such a statement seems to make nonsense of the fact that it is Christ Who does the keeping!

The fact of the matter is that all too often, such people have been unwilling to meet the conditions necessary to claim the limitless grace of God!

CONDITION ONE (verses 6&10)

GETTING DOWN OFF OUR PEDISTAL!

[a] By nature, we are insufferably proud!

[b] Before God can really work within us, we must allow Him to remove the pride that says, "I can do it myself!!"

[c] It's like the drowning man! As long as he tries to save himself, no-one else can help - he must entrust himself to his saviour!

[d] Before God can do much in our lives, there must be humility!

2 Chronicles 7:14 says, "If my people which are called by my Name shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." Humbling is mentioned first, which gives an indication of the importance God places upon it!

[e] John Bunyan said, "It is hard to sit in the valley of humiliation, but it is fruitful, fertile, and beautiful once we get there."

CONDITION TWO (verse 7a)

ENTRUSTING OURSELVES TO HIM

[a] In Romans 6:13, Paul puts it this way, "Yield yourselves unto God."

In Romans 12:1, he says, "Present your bodies a living sacrifice."

[b] We must relinquish our own will, and allow His plans to supercede our own.

[c] Giving ourselves to Christ, must mean exactly that!! Allowing Him to take control!

[d] We must allow our own stubborn will to be broken.

CONDITION THREE (7b)

WILLINGNESS TO RESIST THE DEVIL

[a] There are too many who profess Christ, who in their heart of hearts do not want to resist the devil's temptation.

[b] There is a secret desire there for the sin, and yet they want to blame the Lord for not delivering them!

[c] The devil - this roaring lion waiting to devour us, must be fought with everything we've got, and everything God can give us.

[d] If that is not our burning desire, we have no hope of success.

CONDITION FOUR (verse 8)

CLEANSING OF THE INWARD LIFE

[a] There are far too many OUTWARD CHRISTIANS!

[b] Let us remember God's word to Samuel, "Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7)

[c] We must allow God to deal with our thought life - be willing for Him to remove the very roots of sin and uncleanness!

CONDITION 5 (verses 11-12)

GOD IN CONTROL OF OUR TONGUE

[a] Words so easily slip out like a waterfall over a rock - we can never retrieve them.

[b] There have probably been more church splits in Peterhead than anywhere else of it's size, and if you think about it - why do they happen - usually because of WORDS LOOSELY SPOKEN - PEOPLE HURT - MORE WORDS SPOKEN - PEOPLE POLARIZING AND TAKING SIDES, AND MUCH TO THE DEVIL'S ENJOYMENT - IT DEVELOPS INTO A WAR ZONE!

[c] An Arab proverb which I have quoted before, but is worth repeating, says, "Before a word is spoken, you are the master of it, but once it is spoken, it is the master of you!"

[d] In connection with this is the curse of destructive criticism!

[e] In my years of officership, I have so often come across those, who continually do the devil's work of destructively pulling down, rather than building up! Such people wouldn't recognize words of encouragement, if they hit them up the face at 90 miles an hour!

CONCLUSION

[a] The Lord doesn't just call us to a life of holiness and victory, He provides an abundance of grace to bring it about, and enable us to change and be what we should be.

[b] Remember the words I quoted from the Amplified Bible, "He gives us more and more grace."

Songs from Salvation Army Song Book

SONG TUNE

579 [592]

303 (PRAYER) [823] CHORUS ONLY

239 [414]

308 [70]